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Title: Nuclear risk assessment for the Mars 2020 mission environmental impact statement.

In the summer of 2020, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to launch a spacecraft as part of the Mars 2020 mission. One option for the rover on the proposed spacecraft uses a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to provide continuous electrical and thermal power for the mission. An alternative option being considered is a set of solar panels for electrical power with up to 80 Light-Weight Radioisotope Heater Units (LWRHUs) for local component heating. Both the MMRTG and the LWRHUs use radioactive plutonium dioxide. NASA is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The EIS will include information on the risks of mission accidents to the general public and on-site workers at the launch complex. This Nuclear Risk Assessment (NRA) addresses the responses of the MMRTG or LWRHU options to potential accident and abort conditions during the launch opportunity for the Mars 2020 mission and the associated consequences. This information provides the technical basis for the radiological risks of both options for the EIS.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems